This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

09 April 2009

Article: "Gravity wave mission to help study asteroids"

From the article...

LISA, NASA and ESA’s Laser interferometer Space Antenna, which will attempt to detect gravitational waves, will also turn its “noise” into useful information about near-Earth asteroids.

Gravity waves are associated with the warping of the space-time continuum, believed to be caused by supernovae events or colliding black holes sending ripples through the Universe. These ripples are what LISA is hoping to detect. The mission will comprise three satellites connected by laser beams, and if a gravitational wave passes them by, their separation should change by a distance less than the width of an atom.

Planetary scientists also realised that they too could exploit LISA, since asteroids would also make the spacecraft wobble, leaving a distinct signature in the data being collected. Pasquale Tricarico of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, developed this idea to predict the number of asteroid encounters LISA can expect and how those encounters can be used to determine the mass of passing asteroids.

Link: Article

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